The Nissan Micra has been a pretty solid baseline in the B-segment over the past 30+ years. Like a bowl of Muesli, it might not be the most moorish, but you know where you stand. As Nissan introduce an all-new Micra with a strong focus on European buyers, they aim to throw a few chocolate chips into the mix and make this new generation a watershed moment for the nameplate. We headed to Dubrovnik to test the 2017 Nissan Micra.
Looking strikingly similar to the funky Sway concept car, the new Micra appears reinvigorated. Sporting dynamic character lines that run from nose to tail, they convey a fluid effect upon the cars skin. Our test car in its signature fiery orange etched a striking silhouette into its surroundings. A domed nose plays host to the “V-Motion” Nissan family face and a set of intricate raked headlights. A floating roofline and hidden rear door handles clearly demonstrate the change of ethos with this fifth generation Micra. In top specification Tekna trim this model also gets 17 inch alloy wheels. This invigorating design will no doubt appeal to younger buyers.
The interior has also benefited from a total rethink and forms a spacious cabin. High quality materials now line the dashboard utilising leather and neat stitching. Cascading surfaces make for an appealing environment and, other than a few scratchy door plastics, it is a nice place to be. A digital display within the instrument binnacle from the Qashqai has been imported, no bad thing. Front occupants are treated to supportive seats that are offered in a range of two-tone colours. The rear bench seats three with good leg room, but head room can be restrict for taller passengers. Boot space is a Citroen C3 rivalling 300 litres or 1,004 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
This 2017 Nissan Micra was equipped with a 0.9 litre three cylinder turbocharged engine. Set to be the best seller, Nissan claims it will do 64.2 MPG combined and emit 99g/km CO2. It is a peppy little engine once the turbo comes into play and on the move it is a very refined unit. Refinement is a particularly strong point with the Nissan Micra. There isn’t much in the way of wind or road noise penetrating the cabin making for a relaxing drive. Boosting tranquility further is a system that tweaks the back brakes when going over the likes of speed bumps to minimise the pitching motion. A particularly innovative bit of technology for a B-segment car we thought! Further technology can be found in autonomous city braking and lane keeping assistance, again a feature you would usually find on larger more costly cars. Driven with enthusiasm the little engine loves to rev, and with power being at the top of the range, you need to work the 5 speed manual transmission to get the most out of it. On faster roads the gearbox demonstrated its good selection of ratios. The 0.9 litre is a fizzy unit and makes quite a characterful thrum when pushed. Whilst the new 2017 Nissan Micra doesn’t offer the ultimate in dynamic handling, there is some notable body roll, it presents plenty of reassuring grip. Trace Control aids the car keeping a tight line around a bend by gently applying the inside wheel’s brake. When encountering the odd bit of rutted tarmac, this hatchback soaked up the imperfections, something that bodes well for its arrival in the UK. In more urban environments the light control weights make for an easy car to drive. It is far from cumbersome and a good turning circle further reinforces positive day-to-day traits. Rear visibility isn’t the best in class due to a narrow window, however, our top specification example featured a nifty 360 degree parking camera that gives you a birds-eye view. There is no excuse for poor parking with this active on the infotainment screen along with a reversing camera.
The 2017 Nissan Micra is a return to form for the Japanese brand and is certainly a car that should make your shortlist. Huge improvements in design, perceived quality, and packaging have been made over its predecessor. An entry-level car costs from £11,995 and the new Micra goes on sale in the UK this March.